Thank you, American Dialect Society

For any editor or language buff who has struggled with sentences like these: Everyone took his or her seat. Your client may want his or her options increased. Rejoice!!! The old rule, much disputed, said: If your antecedent (the word to which your pronoun refers) is singular, you cannot use the word “their” because it… Continue Reading

A tale of two (actually three) English grammar texts

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Michael Franklin at the AMWA (American Medical Writers Association) conference in Columbus last month. He told me of a must-read grammar text, Understanding English Grammar by Martha Kolln and Robert Funk, that he had studied in graduate school. I nearly fainted when I saw the price at… Continue Reading

The numbers game

I have frequent requests in my writing classes to explain how to express numbers in technical and business writing. Let me be honest with you: I can’t possibly cover all the variables involved in writing numbers in this brief post. In fact, I could actually shorten this article dramatically if I just said: “Consult your… Continue Reading

Recently released: The Copyeditor’s Handbook (a great resource)

 The Copy Editor’s Handbook: A Guide for Book Publishing and Corporate Communications, 3rd edition, is a comprehensive resource for both new and experienced editors. The preface acknowledges the author’s intent to help new copyeditors: “This handbook is addressed to new and aspiring copyeditors who will be working on nonfiction books, journal articles, newsletters, and corporate… Continue Reading

Tour de Style Manuals

If you’d like a demonstration of democratic unproductivity, try settling writing style issues like the serial comma or the hyphenation of the word “e-mail”  in a group. Months later, you’ll still be arguing (and the national debate on health care will look tame by comparison). That’s why I recommend that each work group, department, division,… Continue Reading